Norway’s government says that it has reopened society by lifting COVID-19 restrictions that have limited social interaction and hampered many businesses.
The Nordic nation joins a growing number of countries, including Denmark and Britain, which have removed all domestic restrictions that limited the spread of COVID-19, according to Reuters.
“It is 561 days since we introduced the toughest measures in Norway in peacetime … Now the time has come to return to a normal daily life,” Prime Minister Erna Solberg told a news conference.
Restrictions ended at 4:00pm (local time) on Saturday, Ms Solberg said.
The decision to no longer impose social separation will allow culture and sports arenas to use their entire capacity rather than only a percentage of their seats, while restaurants can fill up and nightclubs can reopen.
“In short, we can now live as normal,” Ms Solberg said.
Under 70 per cent of population being fully vaccinated
According to the country’s Institute of Public Health, 76% of all Norwegians have now gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 67% are fully immunized.
However, the Prime Minister warned that those who contracted COVID-19 after the restrictions were lifted must still be isolated to prevent the virus from spreading.
Travel restrictions will also be eased, and the government will no longer advise citizens not to travel outside of Europe.
Some restrictions will still apply to those arriving from countries with high rates of infection, according to the government.
Like most countries, Norway was hit hard by the Delta strain of the coronavirus.
In total, the country has recorded nearly 186,000 local cases of Covid-19 and has had 850 deaths. In the last 24 hours, Norway has recorded 705 new cases.
More countries removing all Covid-19 restrictions
Norway is the second Scandinavian country to end the restrictions, following in the footsteps of Denmark who waved goodbye to lockdowns on September 10.
Denmark is first in EU to lift all coronavirus restrictions. The country’s “COVID pass” will no longer be required to enter restaurants, sports centers or nightclubs, and children will no longer automatically be sent home if they come into close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case. Only those infected have to quarantine. People can go back to the office as normal, and schools are open.
The UK has also adopted a largely “Covid-normal” existence although case numbers continue to flare.
Argentina is going to lift almost all Covid restrictions following a dramatic fall in Covid cases and deaths in recent months.
Portugal said it will remove limits on the size of groups that can be seated at restaurants from Oct. 1 as it takes the next step in a plan to gradually lift restrictions.
Norway reclassifies Covid-19: No more dangerous than ordinary flu
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health FHI has made the remarkable decision to classify Covid-19 as a dangerous respiratory disease on par with the common flu.
It is clarified that the pandemic has not ended, but has entered a new phase in which Covid-19 is now associated with a common respiratory disease, such as the flu or a respiratory infection.
According to FHI’s assessments, the infection is on the decline, fewer people become seriously ill, very few die and Norway’s assessment that Covid-19 is no longer more dangerous than a common flu looks increasingly correct.